The National Petroleum Council: What is it and why it matters now

Written by:

Katie Mehnert

This summer I received a letter from US Department of Energy Secretary Granholm and CEO of Exxon Mobil, Darren Woods, and the National Petroleum Council Chair to consider joining the NPC to represent the views of the energy workforce at large.

It was a moment I had to stop and see if the ink was legitimate.  I said yes, of course, not really knowing what my role would be.  It's an honor to represent the industry and our country.  

Capitol Hill

So what is the NPC and how does it work?

I googled NPC and found the website, which looks like something out of the 1990s, as many commented on Linkedin. 

The National Petroleum Council (NPC), a federally chartered and privately funded advisory committee, was established by the Secretary of the Interior in 1946 at the request of President Harry S. Truman. In 1977, the U.S. Department of Energy was established, and the NPC’s functions were transferred to the new Department.

The purpose of the NPC is solely to advise, inform, and make recommendations to the Secretary of Energy and the entire Executive Branch with respect to any matter relating to oil and natural gas or to the oil and gas industries submitted to it or approved by the Secretary. The Council membership of approximately 200 persons is selected and appointed by the Secretary of Energy (see “Council membership”). Individual members serve without compensation as representatives of their industry or associated interests as a whole.  You can read more here.

Why is the NPC important right now?

Secretary Granholm met with NPC CCC this summer after President Biden called out the oil industry.  She followed up with a written request for the NPC to provide information and advice on four areas:

  • How the industry is working to supply oil and refined products to U.S. consumers;
  • Near-term steps the administration can consider to increase supply;
  • The evolving global oil market and its impact on U.S. producers, suppliers, and refiners;
  • Industry steps to actively support a net-zero economy by 2050

At our meeting this week, a report was issued in two separate parts:

  • Petroleum Market Developments - Progress and Actions to Increase Supply and Improve Resilience (including Strengthening Emergency Preparedness)
  • Principles and Oil and Gas Industry Initiatives and Technologies for Progressing to Net Zero

How can you get involved to ensure the workforce is represented?

Each year the NPC focuses on studies.  These studies look at various technologies, challenges, barriers, and social impacts.  The focus of the NPC outside of the request this summer is on a study that looks at the Deployment of Low Carbon Intensity Hydrogen Energy at Scale and one that examines Reducing Emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) from the U.S. Natural Gas Supply Chain.  You can read more about these on the website.

In 2023, ALLY will provide updates on the progress of these studies and will develop a compelling case for why we need to look at the energy workforce of the future and how America can shore up talent to address the energy transition.  I am honored to be a part of a task group focused on looking at the social impacts of both studies and stakeholder engagement. 


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